Intelligent homes and smart home lighting guide

Do you want a smart home? Start with your lighting! Here’s how you can integrate this into your home design plus the benefits of having this feature.
Intelligent homes & smart home lighting guide
Young woman controlling home light with a digital tablet in the living room.

Telsyte, Australia’s leading emerging technology analyst firm, conducted a study last year and found out that the Covid-19 pandemic sparked a lot of interest in smart homes. This mini-boom happened because many of us want to improve our lifestyle at home post-pandemic ⸺ and to live in an intelligent home equipped with smart features is one way to do so. 

If you are planning a renovation or new home build project this year, adding smart home technology to your plans is not only beneficial to daily life at home, it will also increase the value of your home, and can be used to improve thermal comfort in the house with less human intervention and safety. 

Yes, integrating these automated features into your home will incur extra costs, but you can do this without blowing up your budget. You can commit to one or two smart home features in the beginning then add more in the future. 

Start with smart home lighting. This is the entry point for most Aussie homeowners interested in living in a smart home.

Smart home lighting for beginners

Many smart home lighting systems work well without a central hub, which is why this is the most beginner-friendly of all home automation technology. You can set up your devices to communicate with the lights via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or using motion sensors.

Wi-Fi connected smart lights

Here, you use bulbs with built-in Wi-Fi radios. These can communicate directly with your router and can be controlled via Wi-Fi. You will need to install a mobile app to turn on/off and dim the lights remotely from any room in your house or from anywhere as long as you have a stable internet connection. 

Kmart Mirabella Genio Wi-Fi E27 Colour Bulb - Can connect to your home Wi-Fi network and can be controlled anytime, anywhere using the Mirabella Genio app.

Bluetooth paired light fixtures

Here, you use bulbs with built-in Bluetooth radios. These can connect directly with your phone when you are within a certain distance. Pair your phone and the bulb once, and you will be able to control it even without a Wi-Fi connection. 

Professionally speaking, it is best to have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth set-ups at home. This way, you have a backup. Your smart lights can still function properly when the Wi-Fi is down. You can still operate your lights remotely using your smartphone too.

Intelligent homes & smart home lighting guide
C by GE - A19 Bluetooth Smart LED Bulb with Google Assistant, Alexa, or HomeKit

Light fixtures with motion sensors

Another great option is to use motion-detecting smart lights, the ones that light up when someone has entered the room and automatically turns off once they leave. These are perfect in bathrooms, powder rooms, entryways, mudrooms, walk-in closets, and the front door area.

Auraglow Rechargeable Motion Sensor LED Strip Light for cabinets and staircases

Voice-activated lighting

In addition to your in-wall controls and mobile devices, you can also control your smart home lighting system using a voice-activated assistant. Summon Alexa, Siri, or Google to administer your lights.

Intelligent homes & smart home lighting guide
Controlling home devices with a voice commands via Alexa.

The good news is that these platforms by the Big Three tech companies (Amazon, Apple, and Google) give you room to add more home automation features in the future. You can also use these to control smart locks, smart security cameras, smart thermostats, smart speakers, smart smoke detectors, smart entertainment systems, and more.

How to choose your smart home lighting

When asked, many homeowners would like to automate all of their lights at home. This is a great vision and there are homeowners who have done it before. However, based on experience, it’s not always practical to turn every bulb in your home into a smart bulb. It’s best for beginners in home automation to start simple. Choose the lights you want to control. 

In smart indoor lighting, you need to control the ambient lights from the task lights and the accent lights. It’s better to address each type of light individually. Recessed lighting is best controlled using Wi-Fi, while stair lighting works well with motion sensors.  

The same logic applies to smart outdoor lighting. Floor lights, wall sconces, path lights, and spotlights should be addressed separately. 

You also need to consider replacing your traditional switches, dimmers, and plugs with smarter models to ensure the smooth operation of your smart home lighting system. This is an extra investment, but definitely worth it. 

Benefits of having smart home lighting systems

Going back, smart lighting can make our ‘at home’ lifestyle so much better. Here are some of the ways how:

  • With smart lighting, you are able to schedule your lights. Program the times when certain lights should turn on and off. Imagine how safe your property would be when your landscape lighting automatically turns on at night even if no one’s home. These lights turn off by daybreak, so you don’t have to worry about them anymore. 
  • It helps you stay energy-efficient. Programming your indoor lights with your family’s daily routine will cut your energy consumption. No more lights open in rooms that are not used during the day.
  • It is good for your biological clock. You can program your bedroom lights to dim and fade slowly until you fall asleep. You can also simulate a slow sunrise in your room to help you get up in the morning.
  • It boosts your mood and productivity, especially when you are working from home. Program the lights to automatically adjust from sunrise to sunset. It’s important to have the correct lighting at different times during the day. The colour temperature and brightness levels of your indoor lights must match your activity and the time of day.
  • It makes your home more accessible. People with disabilities and the senior members of your family will appreciate it if they can turn the lights on and off with the help of a voice assistant. It will help them feel more independent. Kids will appreciate it too, especially if they can’t reach the switch.

Think about the great deal of convenience that smart home lighting systems add to your home. This can be done even with a modest budget. With just a few relatively inexpensive products, you and your family can experience living in a smart home. 

Is smart home lighting sustainable?

Smart lighting is only the beginning. There are more aspects of home automation that we will adapt, and there are more to be discovered. 

“We are looking into a future with healthier and happier homeowners living in automated homes. It’s okay to embrace smart home lighting first”. 

Just make sure that the products you’re going to use will be compatible with the others that you want in your home in the near future. You’ll want your smart lighting system to be a solid foundation of the smart home that you’re dreaming of.

Intelligent homes & smart home lighting guide

If you want to experience living in a smart home but you’re afraid to commit to it, consider automating your secondary dwelling. 

Read our previous blog about the high-tech home improvements that you can add to your granny flat. Your granny flat is smaller and you won’t spend much money to test technological advancement here. 

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